Creating a ministry of water & environment to…Solve water crisis [Archives:2003/638/Business & Economy]

June 2 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The new Yemeni government has placed itself at a decisive confrontation with water crisis and regulation of water resources in addition to its re-distribution according to plans supposed to be implemented by the first ministry of water created for this purpose.
The establishment of a new ministry for water and environment came to face an aggravating crisis of water in Yemen. Before the creation of water ministry, water wealth management was the responsibility of many authorities, i.e. the ministry of irrigation and agriculture, the ministry of electricity and the state establishment for water.
Pursuant to world bank and donor countries remarks on significance of preparing a water strategy to put an end to depletion of subterranean water basins, the ministry would be responsible for solving the problem of excessive pumping of water in mountains, mountainsides and littoral plains where more than 90% of the population lives. The World Bank report excludes the governorate of Hadramout from excessive use of water. For the modern evaluative studies on water resources revealed the existence a water resource in that governorate that can amount to 280 cubic meters of annual feeding, in addition to a reserve that can be enough for several thousands of years under the present rate of consumption in the region. Thus the establishment of the new ministry is meant to encounter the hyper-usage of subterranean water at rates that could lead to exhaustion of a great amount of countryside water reserve within one generation. Yemen is expecting from the new ministry of waters to explore resources of pure water many of the poor citizens are lacking in. Moreover the ministry is expected to work for utilizing rainwater by building new water dams and barriers.
The government's association of environment with the ministry of waters is aimed at preventing the environmental deterioration that caused aggravation of water problems, especially with removing trees, discarding terraces and scraping of soil by the act of water torrents and diminished feeding to subterranean reservoirs.
The ministry would set up a legal and planning work frame allowing flow of water from the countryside to towns at sustainable amounts meeting the needs of urban areas inhabitants. The purpose is to raise averages of covering pure water and sewage serves.
The Yemeni government's policy on providing the citizens with waters is categorized under the strategy on reducing poverty and decreasing its rates in a way the ministry of waters would bear a percentage pf the cost of transfer and distribution of water resources. Experts confirm that success of the new ministry is dependent on allocation of ample funds for running the water sector and allotment of big investments for providing pure drinking water in towns and the countryside. It is also depending on coordination of the state policies in preserving water wealth and its distribution among citizens in a fair way.